Perceptions of the family mealtime environment and adolescent mealtime behavior: Do adults and adolescents agree?

Kerri N. Boutelle, Leslie A. Lytle, David M. Murray, Amanda Birnbaum, Mary Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

The family mealtime environment has great potential to affect the eating behaviors of youth in the family. It is difficult to determine the important elements of a healthy mealtime environment because a valid assessment of the family environment is so difficult to obtain. The objective of this study is to examine the level of agreement between adult and adolescent perceptions of the family mealtime environment and adolescent mealtime behavior. A telephone survey was used to query adult and adolescent family members about how they perceive the family mealtime environment and the adolescent's mealtime behavior. A convenience sample of 282 adult/adolescent pairs from four schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area completed the telephone surveys. Frequencies of responses and the associations between the adult and adolescent responses are presented. Pearson correlations and regression were used to examine the level of association between adult and adolescent responses. Mixed-model regression was used for the continuous variables, and mixed-model logistic regression was used for the dichotomous variables. This study showed very little concordance between adolescent and adult responses. Only one question regarding arguments about eating during mealtime showed concordance. Adults and adolescents living in the same household seem to have different perceptions of the family mealtime environment and adolescent eating patterns. Researchers need to be aware of and concerned with the validity of the use of self-report for descriptions of family mealtime. They also need to be aware of the difference in adult and adolescent perceptions and consider these differences when designing messages for the family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-133
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Volume33
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2001

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